World War 2
This article appeared in the April 1992 NZ 28 Maori Battalion Reunion booklet.
No. 56347 - Robert James Larkins J.P.
Born April 5, 1920 - Died January 11, 1992
ROBBIE, who was born in Kaitaia, attended the local District High School. He first went to work as a twelve year old during the depression years to supplement the family income. He continued farm work until the outbreak of World War II when he enlisted at the age of 19 years.
He served overseas with the Battalion in the Middle East, was wounded twice and was invalided home in 1945. On his return he attended the Disabled Servicemen's League taking an apprenticeship in upholstery and when he returned north he set up an upholstery business, retiring in 1983.
Robbie was fluent in both Maori and English. He was a respected elder of the Ngati Kahu tribe as well as having strong links with Aupouri, Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi tribes. He devoted much of his time to Promoting Kohanga Reo, Matua Whangai and helping to settle young people returning from institutions. He seemed to have a special rapport with people of all ages. His door was always open.
Robbie facilitated many meetings under The C.Y.P. and F. Act of 1989, and met with considerable success as a mediator. He represented his people and the community as a serving delegate or member of the following organisations: Otura Maori Committee, Mangonui R.S.A., Ngati Kahu District Council, Maori Anglican Pastorate, Otura Marae Trust, Maori Battalion Kaitaia Branch, and he was the patron of the Ex-Malayan Association. He was also advisor to the Dept. of Social Welfare, Justice Dept. and Education Services
Robbie who had been in ill health for sometime lived to attend a Larkin's family reunion which took place shortly before his death. He is survived by his wife Winnie, daughter-in-law Carolyn, son-in-law Cedric and five grand-children.
[Corrections to last sentence from Vickilee Henry who says 'I am his granddaughter, 1 of his daughter's 4 children.' Date of death also corrected from family information]